Tag Archives: dessert

sweet treats for special ladies…

What better way to celebrate the women in your life than with baked goods… so for this special day, a classic British dessert… the Bakewell Tart. A buttery shell encased the lovely sweet frangipane filling and raspberry jam slathered base, while the flaked almonds offered a slightly extra nutty crunch. It is, and always will be my favorite of puddings so why not share it with the ones you love! Wrapped tenderly in a sheet of parchment these sliced gems were tucked gently into a precious pink bag and secured with a colorful ribbon…

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love in every bite…

With Valentine’s Day being on a Saturday this year, it was perfect to do something a bit different from years past… This meant making the entire experience a dual effort!
The day started by preparing our chocolatey dessert. Chocolate bowls were made, a chocolate sponge cake baked off, black cherries steeped in a sugary sauce and a creamy whipped topping all ready to be consumed later in the evening by the fireplace!
Our dinner was simple yet delicious; filet of beef wellingtons! It began by seasoning and searing the filets. Then red onions were sautéed in some luxurious European butter and cognac. This was then puréed into a slightly chunky ‘paste’. Each filet was then given a spread of dijon mustard, a nice dollop of the red onion paste, placed onto puff pastry and then covered over with a top layer of pastry. A brush of egg wash, tiny slit in the top and it was off to the oven for twenty-five minutes… When the wellingtons finally emerged, they were golden, puffy and full of lush flavors!
The day, as well as cooking/baking went off without a hitch… a day of romance, wonderful eats, champagne, snow and a fireplace! What more could we have wished for?

-R

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my twist on a classic…

With a soaking rain wreaking havoc on the day, I decided that it was the perfect excuse to bake up an amazing cheesecake!
I had been experiencing a severe craving for the creamy and luxurious dessert, and thought it would help lift my spirits to whip one up.
This cheesecake was different from your typical variety, as I used both cream cheese, along with goat cheese for an added tang and fuller depth of flavor.
The basic elements still went into the baking process, however I added gorgeous vanilla bean seeds in for a beautiful speckle and flavor, as well as a special homemade vanilla sugar.
The silky mixture was poured gently into a homemade graham cracker crust that I molded into my springform pan… It was then into the oven for roughly an hour until perfect.
Once cooked, it was time to set up and then take a doze in the fridge to really come together… As soon as the cheesecake was ready to be sliced, there was no stopping the diminishing that became evident!
The crisp and buttery crust hugged the velvety smooth mixture and just added to the sinful act that was occurring… I’m fine with committing that sin, and there will be no confession from me!

at a low simmer…
-R

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that’s how the ____ crumbles!!

After enduring a rainy day, I decided to lift my spirits and make a refreshing crumble for dessert tonight. On a trip to the market, vibrant rhubarb peeked out of the wicker baskets and with their long stalks practically reached out for me!
Once home a nice cleaning, a quick chop and then a toss into a pan with sugar, vanilla and butter. As soon as everything was coated, it was cooked until the rhubarb became almost a glossy pink. Into miniature pie dishes went the filling, while to tuck these beauties in, a tasty crumble made up of flour, butter, brown sugar, salt and vanilla sugar. The crumble mixture was combined by hand until it achieved an almost oatmeal-ish texture, but where the butter still was somewhat together…
The crumbles went into the oven for roughly thirty-five minutes until the topping was golden and the insides were slightly bubbling… the rhubarb bubbling out and cascading down the sides made the excitement for digging in even more appealing!
The crumble was crispy and buttery, while the rhubarb filling had a lovey balance of sweet, but let the minute tartness steal the show…

at a low simmer…
-R

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sweetheart dinner…

On a day when one professes their love, sends bouquets of roses and boxes of chocolate, I displayed mine with the gift of food…
Instead of a night on the town [don’t fret that is already planned], I decided on preparing a pan seared duck breast and sautéed brussel sprouts paired with an incredible bottle of red wine. To finish off this luxurious meal… homemade meyer lemon mousse topped with crushed amaretti cookies!
The duck was perfectly cooked and beautifully tender, the ‘sprouts’ crisp and full of flavor, but we all know the most important part of the meal… the dessert! The mousse was silky and seductive, each bite transported us to another realm… no denying it took some work to prepare, but it was worth every effort… [so happy I made extra]

at a low simmer…
-R

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sticky and sweet!!

With the holidays in full effect, it’s time to celebrate all things sweet!
Tonight we are heading off to a holiday party and I’ll be the bearer of good gifts, sticky toffee pudding.
This recipe takes a little time to make, about an hour and a half + tons of butter and plenty of boozy goodness [to add to the holiday cheer], but believe me its worth the calories [and heck it’s the holidays]!
I’m including the full recipe since baking is a science and you should stick to the steps to get it right. I highly recommend trying this dessert, it’s sticky, dense, buttery and sweet! It’s guaranteed to leave the partygoers cheering for more!

Ingredients
For the ‘pudding’:
2 cups medjool dates [pits removed]
3/4 cup spiced rum
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3.5 cups flour
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt
2 cups light brown sugar [lightly packed]
1 stick butter [at room temp]
3 extra large eggs

For toffee sauce:
3 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup cognac
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350*.
Butter a 9×13 baking dish.
To make the ‘pudding’:
Combine dates, rum and 3/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer for five to seven minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Let liquid cool, and then purée in a food processor. Set aside
While the purée is cooling, sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Combine the brown sugar and butter in a standing mixer on medium-high. Beat until combined. Next, beat eggs in one at a time. Then carefully mix in the flour mixture in thirds on low speed. Lastly, stir in the cooled purée.
Pour batter into the baking dish and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes [cake tester should be clean].
For the toffee sauce:
Make this while the ‘pudding’ is baking. Combine the butter, sugar, cognac and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking consistently. Cook until it thickens to a slightly saucy consistency, roughly 15 minutes.
For the finale, Remove the pudding and let cool for ten minutes. Using a skewer poke holes in the pudding about every inch or so [go crazy].
Pour half of the sauce over the cake and let it soak in for at least 20 minutes.
When serving [should be warm], drizzle some more sauce and finish with a nice dollop of freshly made whipped cream!

at a low simmer…
-R

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the big day, full of big flavors!!

The last few days have been filled with preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday… numerous runs to the market, prep work of some appetizers, as well as the big important part… the turkey!
The appetizers were endless… fresh mozz and tomato, stuffed mushrooms, marinated artichokes, along with a variety of others…
The main course was equally as vast! A nineteen pound turkey that was seasoned with my special ingredients [as well as ALOT of butter], fluffy stuffing, sautéed carrots, mashed potatoes, various sweet potato dishes, brussel sprouts, cauliflower sautéed in garlic and oil, as well as quite a few more…
After a quick cleanup and resting period, it was time for dessert… where oh where was one to put these?? Homemade pumpkin pie, coconut custard, a pecan cheesecake, cakey pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, cream puffs and an apple pie…
Stuffed is not a word to describe exactly how I’m feeling now, but once a year it’s acceptable and allowed!

at a low simmer…
-R

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a bit sweet, a bit tart… hmmm just like me!!!

Today was a perfect day to whip up a batch of homemade granola… there was that perfect fall chill in the air and the thought of making something comforting that could be picked at by hand, a crunchy element for a yogurt at breakfast or even a healthier substitute for a dessert crumble topping!
It’s a pretty simple concept… oats, wheat germ, slivered almonds and coconut are mixed with canola oil and honey. Everything is tossed into a 350 degree range for thirty-five to forty-five minutes [depending on your range] tossing frequently to prevent burning. Once a beautiful brownish toasty color is achieved, it’s off to cool and some yummy dried fruits get added to give this granola some extra oomph… you can really use any dried fruits you prefer, but this time I just used cranberries, cherries and calimyrna figs!
The flavors are slightly sweet from the coconut, cherries and honey, a touch tart… courtesy of the cranberries, but all around crunchy and delicious!
Will we be able to wait until morning to dive in??? I highly doubt it!

at a low simmer…
-R

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dessert first…

Tonight was one fun-filled night! We spent time with family and enjoyed a night full of making [and of course consuming] some sweet and savory desserts, as well as some fantastic wines and cheeses, and a number of delectable eats…
I got to play the role of sous chef and received a wonderful lesson from Kristina, an amazing wiz in the pastry kitchen. On the dessert menu, I helped whip up a batch of velvety ice cream with a special savory element tossed in, in addition to a texture filled mascarpone mousse!
The ice cream was served shooter-style with an addition of candied bacon to finish everything off… the mousse was layered on top of a gorgeous squared cut piece of cake…
I don’t know how I was expecting to stick to this healthy eating plan I’m following, but we’re all allowed to cheat once in a while!

at a low simmer…
-R

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who says you can’t have both??

Tonight in celebration of the upcoming holiday week, I decided to do a classic, no-frills American dessert with a bit of volume turned up… ice cream sandwiches!!
Rather than a traditional and somewhat expected vanilla ice cream wedged in between two flimsy cake-like cookies, I opted for more of a cookie-on-cookie action… that’s right a crushed Oreo cookie ice cream slammed between two delightful chocolate chunk cookies. Mmmm two of my favorites in one dessert!! The sheer taste of freshly baked cookies with chunky chocolate chips revealed a true creamy surprise of a childhood favorite Oreo cookies in an ice cream form as I bit down. Sometimes the simplest combinations make the best flavors.

at a low simmer…
-R

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